So let me start with my minimalist journey. When I was little, being the youngest of 3 children, I had a chip on my shoulder about always having the hand me downs. My parents did a pretty good job getting me clothes, toys and books of my own. That meant that I had all of my own stuff as well as all of my sisters’ hand me downs. My room was cramped with stuffed animals, books, CDs and art supplies. By the time I was a teenager, one wall was covered ceiling to floor with a “collage” of pictures from magazines, catalogues and my family. Even thinking about the way I lived makes me actively anxious.
Cut to my first year of college. I lived with a roommate like most freshmen. I didn’t bring that much with me as I was living in the same city as my family. My roommate, on the other hand, was from further away and brought a lot with her. She was also on the track team and rarely did laundry. Looking at all of this random stuff she had – this clutter and mess – was so stressful for me. I changed from being the messiest child my parents had to slowly getting rid of more and more in my bedroom.
In my Junior year of University (which became my senior year) – I had an extremely devastating period of life. Both of my parents died after long battles with illnesses. Suddenly, my sisters and I were the proud owners of our lovely 4 bedroom childhood house, our grandmother’s cluttered cottage and my dad’s business office. We owned every single dish, antique, toy, notebook, and car. I was effectively without a home – my sister very kindly let me move in with her to keep an eye on me and so I could finish University in Buffalo. I brought a few pieces of furniture with me and obviously all of my personal effects. We began the process of cleaning out 3 properties of decades of clutter.
Don’t get me wrong – my parents had wonderful taste. They had some of the most beautiful possessions I have ever seen from an impeccable barber chair, to a collection of antique glassware, to a baby grand piano. They also had about 35 years of childrens’ art projects, long forgotten wedding presents, and of course holiday decorations. While my sisters and I had a sense of humor and enjoyed taking stroll after stroll down memory lane, we also had to get real. One of us lived in Germany. One of us already had a house full of furniture. One of us was a college student with no post graduation plans. Because of this, we had garage sale after garage sale. I never noticed before just how much you can accumulate over time.
Cut to almost eight years later, I was getting ready to move abroad and decided that instead of storing all of my mementos, I would choose which ones I loved the most and would keep them. Everything else – from my car to my furniture to my excess clothes were going to be donated or given to friends. All of my books, most of my makeup, board games, shoes are now in better homes. As I was in the process of getting rid of things – with every thing taken out of my life – I felt lighter, less stressed and happier.
After the move, I still have a decent amount of clutter in my life insofar as I like art supplies, makeup and puzzles. I don’t stop myself from making purchases of decor if it will add to my overall happiness. I am certainly not as “hardcore” as some minimalists who live with almost nothing. I just never want 30 years of backlogged possessions. I regularly declutter my collections. It would be a misrepresentation to say that I am completely minimalist. However, I live only with things that make me happy. I am more thoughtful about purchases – often pondering for weeks before pulling the proverbial trigger.
There is still a chance that after everything, I will move towards having even less. However, I don’t think that I will ever go back to having more. I hope you enjoy the content that I create about how to keep your life clean and functional!